As a kid my family would spend one or two weekends a month at my Great Grandma Doty’s house. She was a large woman with all those grandma curves where they were supposed to be and she could almost suffocate you with her thick arms and amble bosom when she hugged you close. She always seemed to be in the kitchen, wearing an apron and making course after course of food. You NEVER went hungry at Grandma’s house.
Her home was a 1920’s bungalow with front and side porches, a pull down ladder into the attic and all sorts of nooks and crannies for an 8 year old to hide in.
The house had 4 bedrooms. We distinguished them by color and location. Mom and Dad always took “the red room”. It was spacious and had 2 gilded roses matted on velvet in picture frames along with a crushed red velvet bedspread. It seemed very romantic to me and I always felt like my parents got a mini retreat at a fine hotel.
The other two rooms were fought over between my brother and I and any other cousins who happened to be there at the same time. I liked the feel of “the blue room” with its old TV that sometime would get channels I wasn’t supposed to watch. But I didn’t trust the blue velvet curtain that covered a closet instead of doors. I always thought the ghost of my Great Grandpa who had died in the house might be there. The location wasn’t the greatest either. It faced out front, right into the community hospital’s ER department. Oh sure, it was fun to watch them wheel in the accident victims but the ambulance’s siren at 2 in the morning scared the crap out of me.
My preference was “the green room”. It was small, quaint and cozy. It had a big antique trunk, a foot pedal sewing machine and Mexican blankets and wooden bowls on the walls. The bed was a double that suited my size better and the location was right next to “the red room” in case I needed my parents right away. But the best part, the most coveted item within the room was the heater vent. It was one foot square sunk into the carpet of the floor and it was directly above the old oil stove down in the dining room. When you opened the grates you could not only SEE directly below but also HEAR all the adult conversations that took place after bedtime!
I learned many things over the years. And for a while, the parents seemed none the wiser to our covert spying. That was until my little brother thought it would be funny to make noises one night to the unsuspecting aunts and uncles below. After that stunt, the conversations never seemed as juicy. They talked in adult “code” talk and would yell up to us even if we weren’t hovering over it.
As the years past and we moved away, grandma grew older but stayed in her little white house. We would come to visit as often as we could. It never seemed to change much except the bedrooms grew smaller and the colors of her whirlygigs and plastic flowers in the front yard faded out. Grandma had on her apron until the day she died.
The bungalow was sold and her belongings divided up between us all. I was given some of her costume jewelry, a big faux fur coat from the 40’s, those Mexican wooden bowls and one of her blue gingham aprons. Rarely do I wear or look at those things but when Kristabel told me that she was going to be a part of a holiday bizarre and wanted me to contribute, I knew exactly what to pull out.
Grandma’s apron. I’m not sure what it is, but it takes me right back to her house, in the green room looking down on my family.
So I’m makin‘ aprons for the bazaar. I think that in today’s world maybe we could all use those bright colors and soft fabrics that dried many a tear, wiped off the dirt from the garden veggies and cleaned the front window of our own little white houses.